Deloading has a couple purposes:
1. To recover and prepare for the next training cycle.
2. To restore excitement about training.
Just taking a week off, doing light weight for lots of reps, doing light weight for few reps and any other scheme I tried just never worked for me. My first week back of a deload was always a slow grind to get back into it. Everything felt heavy and moved slow. My past few deloads have had the exact opposite effect. I’m excited to get back to training, my weights are all moving fast and even the higher percentage weights don’t feel as heavy as they should. Here are the rules I follow for my deload weeks now that have worked great:
1. Move FAST: all my deload training starts with, and sometimes only consist of, explosive movements. This primes the nervous system and gets it back on track.
2. Avoid Fatigue: I stop all my training sessions before fatigue becomes an issue and I take plenty of time between sets and exercises. I want whatever movements I’m doing to be fast and powerful.
3. Find Novelty: Aside from some staples like chins and dips I very rarely use any movements during my deload that I have been using during my training cycles. It may be a variation, but never the exact same exercise.
4. Experiment: I really like using the deload period to experiment with new exercises and exercise variations and see if they’re something I want to add into my training cycle.
5 Play: I do not under any circumstances plan any of my deload training. If I feel like grabbing my suspension trainer and hitting the playground at the local park I do it. If I feel like trying some new squat variation I do it. If I want to go play some basketball I do it. To much structure in your training can make it very monotonous and feel very restricted. Unstructured training/play gets you excited about getting back to the gym and a structured program.
6. Prioritize Restoration: Do some extra foam rolling, light cardio, stretching, and whatever other means you use to improve recovery. In the end this is a recovery week so treat it as such. Just make sure that your recovery is priming you for your next training cycle.
Now I admit that I have it easier than most since I work in a gym. My deload training could consist of up to 4 different “workouts” in a day that last anywhere from 10 minutes to 1 hour. Your’s however, does not need to be like mine in order to work. If hit the gym before or after work and only did some stuff that made you feel stronger and excited to be there then got out it would be a great session. What you actually do during your deload isn’t as important as the effect it has. If you get ready to head back into your training and you aren’t excited and ready about training then take some more time.
Now, there are some caveats to this approach. If you are really burned out then using explosive movements probably isn’t a good idea. Also don’t plan on taking just a 1 week deloading period either. The more burned out you are the longer it will take to recover from. If you get nervous about going to the gym, have no motivation, everything feels heavy and you have trouble finding the energy to train with out a massive dose of stims then you need more than a week off. Be smart and don’t push yourself past your ability to recover.
Alright so it’s deload week for me. I hate taking them but after last week I needed a little break. My numbers are all moving up from cycle to cycle so I’m not going to mess with a good thing. Yesterday I took completely off and later today I’m going to head out and drag the sled for a bit and maybe carry my sandbag around the yard a couple times.
EDIT: Decided to just haul around the sandbag and do some grip work. There is a large difference between a 135 pound sandbag and a 180 pound sandbag.
Since my activity levels have dropped for the week I’m lowering my calories and carbs along with it. As much as I want to move more towards a very slow recomp/lean mass gaining cycle I need to get my ass lean ASAP. I’ve been frustrated the past couple weeks thinking that I wasn’t making progress but after looking at some pictures my legs and arms are definitely getting leaner so I’m going to stick with what I was doing which wasn’t anything special. I was lifting in the AM and then back-loading all my carbs at night. Outside of my last meal it is all just protein, fat, and veggies.
Now, since I can’t afford a Prowler or sled and the gym I work at doesn’t have one then I’ve had to improvise with my clients. I also found an incredibly cheap alternative to buying something like a TRX.
Gym Improv #1- Decline Bench Prowler
If your gym has carpet or at least a surface that lets a bench slide fairly easy then you can sub out the prowler or sled with a decline bench. I found it works best to use the lowest setting on the bench. If you don’t care about having two different “handle” heights to push on then you can use a regular flat bench. To add resistance just throw some plates on the bench and push away.
Gym Improv #2- Ratchet Strap TRX
All I did for these was purchase a pair of 6′ long (should got longer but oh well, live and learn) ratchet straps and 4 spring clips. Since the gym already has several pair of cable handles I didn’t bother attempting to make a pair. The straps I bought weren’t the traditional ratchets however, they are just a spring clip so that all I have to do is push the clip to adjust it. All you have to do is put the spring clips through either the loops sewn into the ends or through the metal loops of the hooks that are already on the straps. That’s it. Throw a handle on each one and you are ready to go.
I’ll get some video of both of these in action over the next couple of days.
130 x 9
230 x 10
185 x 10
290 x 10
Those are just the highlights for this week. Aside from my deadlift all my rep maxes give me an estimated max that is well over what I lifted at the meet in March. Deadlifts are coming in a little lower but since I switched from sumo to conventional I started with a really low training max. I’ve pulled 405 with a conventional stance before so I know I can pull well over that. I just don’t want to go to nuts and jump my training max to high. It’s steadily moving up and getting more comfortable so I’m happy. Aside from my bench press all the lifts this week were rep PR’s.
Last week was my Intensification 8 wave. Since I only posted my MP day and I’m 3/4 of the way through my Realization 8 wave I though it might be time to fill you in on how the rest of last week went.
175 x 3
195 x 3
210 x 8, 8, 8
225 x 4, 4, 4
140 x 3
155 x 3
170 x 8, 8, 8
140 x 8, 8, 8
DB Lateral ss. Shoulder Dislocates
15# ss. 10 dislocates
20# ss. 10 dislocates
25# ss. 10 dislocates
220 x 3
245 x 3
265 x 8, 8, 8
DB Split Squat- (DB’s in rack position)
40 x 8/leg
45 x 8/leg
50 x 8/leg
There was some ab and bicep work in there too but I once again don’t have my log book in front of me.
95 x 3
105 x 3
115 x 8, 8, 8
FG CG Pulldown:
120 x 10
140 x 10
130 x 10
FG DB Row:
95 x 10, 10
FG CG Bench:
80 x 5
170 x 5
190 x 3
210 x 3
225 x 2
Today felt really good. I did my military press with the axle so it was a little different exercise but I stuck with the same weights. Since I got to lift with my old crew this morning I wasn’t going to pass up the chance to do some heavy axle pressing. I’ll drag the sled later today for some extra volume.
Once again I’m behind on updating this thing. I got all my rep maxes in at the end of the last cycle, deloaded and now I’m back lifting again this week. Here’s how things are going so far:
Military Press: 105 x 5 x 8
Squat: 190 x 5 x 8
Bench: 150 x 5 x 8
Deadlifts: 240 x 5 x 8
I really don’t remember what I did as far as accessory work the first three days. Today I’m doing a little double split action. I deadlifted earlier then I’m going to get my accessory work in later this afternoon.
75 x 5
95 x 3
110 x 1
115 x 8
Incline DB Press-
85 x 7
85 x 5
Chest Supported DB Row-
55 x 8
55 x 8
This session was actually done on Monday and it was definitely a Jack Shit type of day. I have sort of post nasal drip going on so my throat is sore as hell and I’m coughing sporadically throughout the day. I’ll go ahead and squat today but I don’t know if I’ll do any assistance work.
Here are some kick ass videos to get your week started off right!
200 x 5
225 x 5
245 x 10, 10, 10
30# x 10
35# x 10, 10
75 x 10, 7
1 x 10
I freaking hate curls. On other news my grip was a bit of a limiting factor on the deads. By the last set I had to stop and reset my hands every couple reps because I could barely hold onto the bar.
I’m going to start trying to get more videos of my training to post up on here. I’m still working towards my random strength goals I had posted up but I’m going to have to rearrange them so that they coincide with current training program. The reason I started the Jugg Method was to have a bit more variety and structure to what I was doing. The goals I have posted up will all be accomplished this year, just not necessarily in that order.
125 x 5
140 x 5
150 x 10, 10, 10
BW+30 x 13 total
BW x 37 total
BW+30 x 15 total
BW x 35 total
Lots of volume here today. Paused the last rep of every set of bench. I was able to stay tight and hold my form much better throughout the duration of the lift.